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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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S6 - People, Patterns and Processes - Place and Cultural Change

"Place and Cultural Change"  supports the S6 Geography syllabus under the broader topic 'People, Patterns and Processes". Students will participate in a case study of Millers Point (including Walsh Bay) and Dawes Point, as examples of place and cultural change at a local scale, particularly through the geographic process of gentrification.

During the fieldwork, students will:

  • Identify and investigate the spatial and cultural characteristics of the precincts, and the influences on the place’s cultural identity
  • Observe and interpret perceptions of, and responses to, cultural continuity and change
  • Identify opportunities to enhance environmental sustainabiltiy and human wellbeing.

The program has two main components:

1. Introductory activities (on support website below), including an introductory presentation to familiarise students with the study site. 

2. A whole day fieldwork experience in Millers Point and Dawes Point (including Walsh Bay), to collect fieldwork data 

Program location

Millers Point, Dawes Point and Walsh Bay, Sydney, NSW

View the Fieldtrip Google map with the approximate walking route, meeting location and pick-up location.

Key inquiry question

What have been the social, economic and environmental outcomes of gentrification on Millers Point and Dawes Point, and how has gentrification effected both suburb’s ‘Culture of place’. 

Key syllabus outcomes

A Student:

GE-11-01 - examines places, environments, and natural and human phenomena for their characteristics spatial patterns, interactions and changes over time.

GE-11-02 Explains geographical processes and influences, at a range of scales, that form and transform places and environments.

GE-11-06- identifies geographical methods used in geographical inquiry and their relevance in the contemporary world.

GE-11-07 - applies geographical inquiry skills and tools, including spatial technologies, fieldwork, and ethical practices, to investigate places and environments

GE-11-09 - communicates and applies geographical understanding, using geographical knowledge, concepts, terms and tools in appropriate forms.

Student Previsit and Follow-up Activities

Successful fieldwork visits have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities before the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide connectedness and relevance to classroom learning.

Students should view the Place and Cultural Change Fieldwork Support Website before undertaking the fieldwork to familiarise themselves with the fieldwork.

On the day activities

During the full-day fieldwork excursion, students:

  • Undertake a geographic inquiry in the field to answer a geographic question.
  • Collect and analyse data using different fieldwork and sampling techniques to identify the influences of past and current cultural change, and perceptions of and responses to these changes. 
  • Use maps, diagrams and other secondary resources to support student understanding.
  • engage in outdoor experiential learning and fieldwork activities, including using fieldwork instruments, to describe the culture of place of two 'city north' locations.  
  • Conduct an urban transect investigating land use features and evidence of cultural change.
  • Interpret and analyse fieldwork results to describe the influence of mediums facilitating cultural change (gentrification and government policies) on the culture of place of Millers Point (including Walsh Bay) and Dawes Point 
  • Survey people on their perceptions of and responses to cultural continuity and change in the area.


Government Schools: $15 per student  (GST Free)

Non-Government Schools: $25 per student (GST free)